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Residential shared zones

Keeping your street safe for pedestrians and cyclists

Picture of a street with pedestrians and speed zone signs.

Some of Nelson’s residential streets are narrow, winding and without footpaths. Nelson City Council is planning an innovative, affordable new traffic safety scheme called ‘Residential Shared Zones’ to slow down cars, reduce non-resident ‘passing through’ traffic and make these streets safer for walking and cycling – providing a more friendly, attractive neighbourhood where people ‘stop, look and smile’.

What is a Residential Shared Zone?

A Residential Shared Zone is a street where pedestrians and cyclists share the road with motor vehicles – with some added features that make it safer for everyone:

  • 30 KPH speed limit
  • Pedestrians have the right of way
  • Specially-designed narrow entryways at each end of the street to slow drivers and make it obvious that they are entering a restricted speed zone
  • Tree plantings and other features, such as ‘speed tables’, to further encourage slower driving and improve the neighbourhood atmosphere
  • Improved street lighting where needed to avoid dark spots at night
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    • All road users practice their ‘stop, look and smile’: friendly eye contact and every-day courtesy towards others
    • Vehicles – including cyclists -- go slowly, give way to pedestrians and overtake only when it’s safe to do so
    • Pedestrians don’t block approaching vehicles unless they have to (for example, when walking past a parked car)
    • Improve safety on Nelson streets that don’t have footpaths, where pedestrians and cyclists already share the road with motor vehicles
    • Minimum street widening and new tree plantings improve the neighbourhood’s character
    • Minimal or no retaining walls or other major works that reduce neighbourhood character, which are often needed if adding footpaths
    • Minimal loss of on-street parking
    • Walking and cycling are great ways to get around, and Residential Shared Zones make this healthy choice even more safe and simple.
    • Improve safety on Nelson streets that don’t have footpaths, where pedestrians and cyclists already share the road with motor vehicles
    • Minimum street widening and new tree plantings improve the neighbourhood’s character
    • Minimal or no retaining walls or other major works that reduce neighbourhood character, which are often needed if adding footpaths
    • Minimal loss of on-street parking
    • Walking and cycling are great ways to get around, and Residential Shared Zones make this healthy choice even more safe and simple.
  • Residential Shared Zones are new in New Zealand, so there are few examples. However, they are much more common in Europe and the United Kingdom, with some in Australia and the United States also. For more information on the UK “20’s Plenty” campaign.

    How do they work?

    Slowing traffic makes it safer for pedestrians to share the road with vehicles – cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Special signs, ‘speed tables’ (a slightly-raised road surface about two metres long), and planting at the entries to a Residential Shared Zone make it obvious to motorists that they need to drive more carefully and look out for pedestrians and cyclists. The street can also be narrowed along the way with raised ‘berms’ to further encourage slow driving.

    All traffic – on foot, bike or motor vehicle – will share the road, looking out for each other.

    They work best when people are considerate of each other:

    What are the benefits of Residential Shared Zones?

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